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Judge rejects Senate’s immunity claim, orders release of ‘audit’ records

A box of Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are delivered to be examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, who was hired by the Arizona State Senate /Photo by Rob Schumacher /Arizona Republic/pool

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

A Maricopa County judge ordered the Arizona Senate to immediately turn over records related to the ongoing review of the 2020 election, which Senate President Karen Fann will appeal.

The order follows Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp’s recent finding that a bevy of documents requested by the liberal nonprofit organization American Oversight are public records, regardless of whether the Senate has ever actually had physical possession of them. The Senate argued that documents held by audit contractors aren’t public records, which Kemp adamantly rejected. 

Kemp reiterated his rejection of that claim on Tuesday, writing that it doesn’t matter whether Fann, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen or others in the Senate have never even seen the documents, as they claim. If the Senate does not possess the records, Kemp said state public records law obligates her to demand them from Cyber Ninjas, the company she hired to lead the self-styled audit, and its subcontractors. 

“Willful blindness does not relieve Senate Defendants from their duties and obligations under the (public records law),” Kemp wrote on Monday.


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August 2021